Who doesn’t love superheroes? Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Thor, Flash and the list goes on and on. So what is it about superheroes that makes them so popular? For one, the moment you think of any of these superheroes, a very distinct character comes to mind, be it with regards to the clothes worn, the physical characteristics, the gadgets, the powers, the actions or the personality. That is precisely what makes for a great superhero. Now think of brands. Wouldn’t it be awesome if a brand evoked a similar response? And that is why brands should take some lessons from great superheroes.

Apart from the things mentioned above, there is one very important thing that contributes immensely to the making of a great superhero. And that’s the back story. It speaks about the origin, the obstacles, the turning point, the events, the influences and other such aspects that have made the superhero who they are today. The back story is what defines the superhero. And great superheroes have great back stories. Think of Superman and his origin in Krypton or Spiderman and the death of Uncle Ben or Batman and the murder of his parents. Without a great back story, it is very difficult to form an emotional connect with the readers.

The brand identity, a key aspect of branding strategy, is akin to the back story. It defines the brand, it gives it personality, it reveals what the brand stands for at the core. Once this is clarified, it becomes easier to work on building the associations. While there may not be as many superheroes as there are brands, there are umpteen examples of superheroes that have been relegated to obscurity because of a lack of a good back story. Similarly, there are countless examples of brand failures due to lack of distinct brand identities. But once the brand identity is set, it paves the way for the other aspects of branding.

Would you want to read about a superhero who wears a similar costume as Superman or who slings a web like Spiderman? I would think not. In branding terms, creating a unique persona which at the same time reflects the brand’s essence becomes critical. The brand should interact with customers at every touch point in a way that is memorable as well as consistent. In general, all superheroes are part of an industry that does ‘good’, but they each bring their own style for thwarting evil. Similarly, brands should also evolve their own style, be it with tangibles such as packaging or intangibles such as service.

All in all, there is a lot that brands can learn from great superheroes. So go ahead, bring out the superhero in your brand.